So back in my magazine days I was a really good interviewer. I’ve often wondered what helped people open up to me so much and share so vulnerably with me, and I think it’s part connection, part intuition (knowing which questions to ask), but also it was creating a safe space for them in which to share. You see, some journalists can be unscrupulous and push people to share things they weren’t comfortable with because getting the story was more important. But for me, getting them to share the story they needed to share was more important – and that never involved compromising their peace of mind. I hated to ever think anyone would feel anxious about what I might write about them.
Anyway, so that’s what this podcast episode is about. Helping you give yourself a framework for deciding whether something is right or ripe to share, or whether you should save it for another day.
big love, Cate
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“Oh my god, what have I done?!”
Ever said that after posting a story on facebook, sending an email to your list or doing a live << Test First Name >>?
When suddenly, out of nowhere you have this creeping sense of DOOM.
Cue: ominous drum roll – DUM DUM DUUUUUUUUUUUM!
And you can’t quite put your finger on WHY you feel like it? Because you felt perfectly fine about it when you first hit post, publish or send…
It’s like beer fear. Without the good night out.
What if you’re about to be met with an inbox full of unsubscribes, and and angry barrage of abuse?
And this is of course the Vulnerability Hangover.
Which usually, is just yourLizard Brain sensing a whole new level of visibility and trying to get you to DELETE IT ALL to keep you safe.
Just chill, ignore it. You’re doing good. Well done on getting vulnerable.
But, hang on.
What if that niggling sense of unease is actually founded.
What if you really HAVE overshared? Because let’s face it, people do that all the time.
Well, there are 4 simple questions you can ask yourself to put your mind at rest. And that’s what I’m sharing in this podcast today. And it’s basically little checklist that you can refer to, to reassure you that it is your lizard brain going into overdrive, and that you don’t need to go and live under a stone.
Now, why do we even have to get vulnerable anyway? Well, here’s the thing. If you think of any of the leaders online, businesses, coaches that your drawn to. Is it because they are always showing up as a professional. Or is it because they are willing to show up as the real them. And share uncomfortable things to help you move forwards? And I would say that it’s the latter when we are talking about personality led brands.
And that’s because if you want to create a deeper connection with your audience you do have to start getting a bit more vulnerable with how you’re showing up. You need to create a more intimate connection. And I think the most powerful way of doing this is of course sharing stories. And that includes sharing stories that can sometimes make us feel a bit laid bear.
And that doesn’t feel natural. I get that totally. And that’s journey i’ve been on for sure. But here’s what I know. if you want to make people feel something, if you want to move them, if you want the to trust you with their inner truths, and challenges and fears, you’ve got to meet them where they are, and show them that you understand them. You are a real person. Who gets it.
You’ve also got to be prepared for the fact that when you do that. When you get real and vulnerable, youre going to turn some people off completely. And that is totally fine. Because if you’re visible vanilla (and thats something we talked about in episode 2 being visible but vanilla) you aren’t going to be seen. And it’s by giving yourself permission to polarise, that you call in your soul tribe.
So let’s just say, you have made a pact. You are going to start getting comfortable with being a little uncomfortable by creating more vulnerable content. Here’s a little check list of questions you can ask to help you share with more confidence.
- Is it a scar not a wound? I first heard Elizabeth Gilbert talk about this phrase and it’s so true. What it means is when you share a story or something vulnerable, you have to make sure you are out the other side, and able to look back and in hindsight see what the lesson is. Because that way you know you are sharing value with your audience. If you’re still processing something, if you’re sharing the wound, what you’re actually doing is using your audience as therapy and it’s uncomfortable for them. So are you sharing the scar not the wound?
- Are you sharing the right story? Because not every story is going to be valuable to every audience and you have to make sure you are choosing the right story for the right audience. It could be the most inspiring incredible story but told to the wrong room, it’s just going to go down like a lead balloon. For example the story you tell in a room full of your peers is probably going to be a bit different to the story you share on say LinkedIn where you audience is more diverse.
- If there really is that niggling feeling that you have maybe shared something wrong. This is where you need to check in and make sure is this story I’ve just shared, in the way that i’ve shared it, inline with my values as a person. Does it compromise me in anyway, if the answer is yes great. If it’s not, maybe you’ve posted in anger, or high emotion, maybe it’s time to delete.
- Is it your story to tell. Teh truth is alot of the stories we tell will involve other identifiable people in your life.And not everybody wants to have details of their lives shared on social media. So thequestion you need to ask is is this my story to tell? Do I need to ask permission? You don’t always have to ask permission but do you feel like you need to. And if you don’t ask permission and there is an identifiable person in it, are you willing to deal with the repercussions of sharing this story. Perfectly ok to tweak to protect identities. And be clear you’ve done that. But if not going to and its not just your story to tell are you willing to deal with the repercussions that might come.
So that’s it. The four things you need to tick off if the answer to all those questions is yes you can post and put that story out and let it do what needs to do in the world. If there’s no in there. It’s maybe time to pause and look again.
So that’s how to deal with the vulnerability that comes with getting personal online. And I’m going to be over in the Content Download facebook group this week diving deeper into vulnerability and getting personal. I’d love for you to come and join the conversation. The content download community is a free pop up facebook group where I’m hanging out right now to support you on all the things we talk about on this podcast. The link is in the shownotes, but you can find us also by searching #thecontentdownload on facebook too.
Hope to see you there. That’s all from me on The Content Download podcast, until next time.